How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Auburn Alabama
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Auburn AL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Auburn AL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Auburn AL dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Auburn AL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Auburn AL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Auburn AL dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Auburn AL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Auburn AL dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Auburn AL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Auburn AL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Auburn AL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Auburn Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Auburn Alabama.